Published: August 24th 2011July 24th 2011
Motopos National Park
The balancing boulders at Motopos National Park
With a recent cholera outbreak and shortage of mortuaries a truck loaded with dead bodies heads for mass burial while you nervously cross the boarder into one of the worlds most politically unstable countries - Zimbabwe. In a country where interest rates were in excess of 231 Million Percent and local currency denominations range from $1 to $100 Trillion dollars you will not be surprised to find a country under British sanctions struggling economically while desperately sustaining its people and infrastructure.
On nervously crossing the boarder immigration requests brand new United States Dollar notes to pay for a 30 day visa. With local currency now worthless, Zimbabwe has attached its self to the United States Dollar in a attempt to stabilize the country.
Unfortunately a stable country needs to start with a stable police force. Paying bribes to gun wielding police officers asking for a present is common place throughout the country.
With regular power cuts plunging cities into darkness, water shortages cause the spread of disease in rural communities while the few remaining hostels impose curfews on a handful of extreme travelers, the world news is politically censored as christian channels depicting miracles fill the airwaves.
Zimbabwe News Headlines
Typical News Headline In Zimbabwe
While secret police and informants can be anyone from taxi drivers to school teachers few people are willing to speak about the government . With people looking forward to the looming elections and hoping to avoid military control, you often get asked what is happening in the world press.
While wondering around the second largest city Bulawayo, a rusting illuminations hangs above the road celebrating independence in 1980. Realizing the sign hasn’t been taken down in over 30 years it became obvious the city has been left to rot as the stronghold of the Sindebele tribe and the opposition party.
Open hand or closed fist? Wait, its the thumbs up. Oh shit, you get it wrong again as you realize you just gave the secret wave of the opposition party. While the open hand is to support the fractioned MDC, the fist supports Mugabe’s ZanuPF party.
Each morning the Zimbabwe press publishes propaganda. With Mugabe publically referring to the British and American leaders as gay gangsters he lifts his fist in strength and unity.
In a country where homosexuality is illegal newspaper headlines range from "rapist erect for a week" to "lock up your girls, teen
Harrare Street Market
Nearly got arrested and had to pay a bribe for this photo!
lesbians on the loose". Other articles include politicians showering to reduce contracting HIV, UK government saving Mugabe from assassination, MP’s announcing men should be sterilized in an effort to eradicate the spread of HIV, and how Zimbabwe plan to defeat a NATO invasion.
Meeting people completely brain washed by the Zimbabwe media is fascinating. Reading propaganda about the London Riots was shocking. Hearing ZanoPF supporters telling me they kicked out Europeans, democracy is failing and they don’t want Harare to burn like London shows the global political impact of the London riots on countries desperate for political reform.
Being one of few white travelers to venture into the slums and markets of Umbrara you are surprised to be welcomed. While everyone gives you a high five for visiting, a 3 year old steps back wide eyed and bursts into tears while locals explain he hasn’t seen a white man before.
As you stroll around the chaotic yet stunning streets of Harare, you soon realize taking photos is questionable. After a couple of run-ins with the secret police and subsequent bribes you soon realize taking photos and being branded a spy is an expensive if not punishable hobby.
Travel conditions around Zimbabwe
While the politics are confusing. Zimbabwe is a beautiful country with friendly people, stunning landscapes and ancient ruins. Outstanding nightlife and amazing wildlife. A country unfairly battered by the western media. A country in waiting, waiting for a political movement and the tourists to return.
This country isn’t upside down, its sideways. TIA
Due to political censoring, informants and secret police, I decided to publish this blog once I had left this amazingly beautiful country
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